Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Australians Have Shown England They Are Still Short of Being One-Day World Beaters

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Australians Have Shown England They Are Still Short of Being One-Day World Beaters

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Agnew BBC Cricket Correspondent

BEATING Australia 3-2 in the NatWest Series was the ideal result for England. It will give them plenty of confidence but there was a realisation in the final two matches that Australia had warmed up and exposed one or two familiar frailties in the England team.

I was with captain Andrew Strauss at the presentation after Australia's victory at Lord's in the final match and his mood was thoughtful. He was not depressed, nor was he triumphant, because he knows there are areas which England need to work on ahead of the World Cup.

It is a good thing, therefore, that England didn't manage to whitewash Australia 5-0, because they might have got ideas above their station. England have 15 matches, against Bangladesh, Pakistan and Australia, before the tournament begins on the subcontinent in February, so there is plenty of time, but it seems they have taken their eye off the ball with one or two things.

Tim Bresnan is a capable lower-order batsman but I cannot see him as a newball bowler and I would like to see Ryan Sidebottom opening the bowling in one-day cricket.

Bresnan is in the team because England are terrified about their batting but a new-ball bowler is there to take wickets -- and he took only one in the five-match series.

Compare Bresnan with Australia's Shaun Tait -- a high-class opening bowler who will take wickets in oneday cricket. I just cannot see how Bresnan, on the other hand, is going to get people out.

At the top of the order, Craig Kieswetter had a poor series and missed the chance to nail down a spot as the wicketkeeper for the World Cup after his fine performances in the World Twenty20.

Strauss needs a powerful opening partner and Kieswetter has those attributes but we saw against Australia that he is very much a leg-stump player. The way Tait bowled him first ball at Old Trafford exposed a technical flaw that Kieswetter will have to work on.

Matt Prior, the man Kieswetter replaced in the side, has responded to his exclusion in the right manner, by working hard and scoring big runs in Twenty20 cricket, and I wouldn't rule him out of a return to the 50-over side. …

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